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  1. #16
    Mighty Member Vordan's Avatar
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    Fascinating read Mr. Gerard. It’s really weird to me that they didn’t want Luthor knowing Superman’s Identity. It seems that once upon a time DC editorial was fairly strict in what they allowed whereas now it’s a free for all. I’m sorry Loeb got screwed over like that while dealing with his son’s cancer. Also that bit about event “kill lists” makes HiC a lot more understandable for me now.

  2. #17
    Father Son Kamehameha < Kuwagaton's Avatar
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    I think it's hard to both say "screwed over" and "strict" with the Superman titles of the time, especially where Loeb was concerned. There were a few things walked back or denied, but that's comics. There are always going to be times where an editor says no if they care about their job. Return to Krypton was a very fun story and the idea of returning the comics to a pre crisis origin had appeal, but it was also pretty nonsensical the second you took out the magnifying glass. Yet they ran with it for just a bit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Gerard View Post

    - So the teams outperformed expectations. The Return to Krypton prelude (166?) was the bestselling Superman comic since Superman #75 and would later be beat by Superman/Batman.
    Loeb was always trying to fuse the Byrne continuity with the Silver-Age so that you'd just have one 75 year Superman continuity like what Morrison later did with Batman. DiDio wasn't keen on that and neither was Waid, exactly. Waid loves the Silver Age as a fan but he's the first guy to throw it into the woodchipper if he thinks something is silly, unrealistic, or embarrassing. (Johns shared an office with Loeb.)
    The tug of war gave us Superman origin reboots about every 18 months. And Loeb more or less walked from the monthly Superman book at the start of that because he wanted a stable run.
    Hey welcome back. These line up with what I remember. Up until a few years ago, dunno what changed, but the first printing of Superman #166 was worth decent money. It was a pretty outrageous comic in the moment. Waid as you describe him reminds me of Underworld Unleashed. And maybe it took a year or so after Loeb but things really went off the rails in organization. In a way that didn't seem to make sense with the same editor being listed in the credits.
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  3. #18
    Astonishing Member Clark_Kent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Gerard View Post
    I was pitching DC at the time (got my name in the credits of one of those issues).

    The long and short of it is that you had a few things going on:

    - Jeph's son Sam had cancer. He was trying to mentor his son Sam and his daughter Audrey into writing comics. But Sam ultimately died after a few years of struggle and I think think that was the hardest thing Loeb ever went through.

    - Loeb was one of DC's hotter writers at that point. He was doing a LOT of work that went above and beyond what a typical writer does although it's maybe not AS unusual for folks like Grant Morrison, Dan Slott, or Bendis. He was reviewing art portfolios and basically headhunting the whole team lineups. Kinda makes sense for the guy who had been a Hollywood producer and would later be VP of Marvel TV. (He was the publisher for a lot of Rob Liefeld's Alan Moore's Supreme and drew a lot from that.) He was all but hiring the writers and artists. It was a lot. A fair assessment would probably be that Berganza was making more of a mark on books like Young Justice and Loeb and Berganza were practically co-editing although Loeb was neither paid to do that nor could he always get final say after making a decision.

    - So the teams outperformed expectations. The Return to Krypton prelude (166?) was the bestselling Superman comic since Superman #75 and would later be beat by Superman/Batman. Emperor Joker wasn't planned as an event by DC and wound up doing event sales. So the teams had a 4-8 part story planned called Our Superman at War. DC didn't have a big event and basically offered them keys to the kingdom (basically, pet projects and bonus pay) to turn Our Superman at War Into Our Worlds at War. Tie-ins were added.

    - Here's what you should know about event stories -- whether something is planned as an event or gets "upgraded" into one. Publishers have lists of characters they want dead or changed and a condition of doing an event is that you have to hit those marks. Often 10-20 characters the company wants to kill off. Maybe some they want to de-power. This doesn't originate with writers. If you take something like Identity Crisis, Brad Meltzer scripts the scenes and writes the dialogue and comes up with the mysteries but he's ASSIGNED to kill off Firestorm and Ray Palmer and Jack Drake and so on. Events are assigned so that you get "kill lists" and "change lists" and you have to shove those into a story that was envisioned without them or without ALL of them. Sometimes a writer can get a stay of execution by writing a character into retirement or having them just vanish. (Like Ray Palmer in Identity Crisis.)

    - So Our Worlds at War was a kill fest. The teams lost the readers' faith. People who never read Superman suddenly hated the Superman teams. Sales dropped. As sales dropped, the writers lost clout and had pre-approved stories axed.

    - DC management was also changing. More on this in a second. But the Loeb teams had a multi-year arc approved by Jennette Khan and Ediie Berganza that went out the window around the time Loeb quit. They just had Luthor discover Superman's identity and were told... NO. Can't advance that plot. Have to reverse it. This threw out years worth of planning while Loeb was dealing with his kid's cancer.

    - So he walked. And he came back to Superman/Batman but he had a lot of demands (choosing collaborators, pay for collaborators) and was basically able to do whatever he wanted so long as DiDio didn't veto it. And that's what it reads like. This is a guy handed carte blanche. And then his son died towards the end and some drama happened and Mark Millar nvited him to go to Marvel.

    - Underpinning a lot of this stuff is, from what I gather, Paul Levitz was trying to choose a successor to run DC. Except what a variety of folks did or did not know was that Dan DiDio had been handpicked by somebody at Warner Bros. to take over DC before he wrote his first comic. The only reason DiDio showed up in the first place was to run the company the way WB wanted. Levitz didn't know or didn't get the full memo and was trying to find alternative candidates to weigh against DiDio. Levitz interviewed Waid. I think he talked to Loeb. Loeb and Waid always got along FAIRLY well.

    - But everybody who interviewed for Levitz's job had issues with DiDio. It's hard and probably unfair to assign blame on a message board post without all the facts but DiDio was trying to move into a job he'd been promised maybe 5 years before. Meanwhile, you had competing offers made to other people that upset DiDio, who spent five-plus years of his life turning down other work, planning to take that job. It became hard for some of these people to work together for awhile. So you had a big exodus from DC to Marvel of people who, I think, had awkward relationships with DiDio largely because of conflict between Levitz and Kevin Tsujihara and some other folks. Diane Nelson was brought in, in part, I think, because of how frayed the WB/DC relationships were so she could be a neutral party -- and because she was seen as being able to expand the young girls and Young Adult markets based on her background with Harry Potter and other stuff.

    - On top of all of this is that I think there's a lot of folks who misread DiDio in part because, well... He's a troll. A bonafied troll. Yes, he wanted Nightwing dead for years and planned it various ways. But all the stuff about hating Nightwing was playacting. He did it because he thought it would upset the most people. He has a very soap opera/pro-wrestling view and he's more of a Silver-Age/Bronze-Age Marvel guy than DC. So he's always trying to inject that 70s Marvel "Hank Pym becomes a wifebeater" type stuff in. Because he has a view that the more comics upset or provoke people, the more they sell. Honestly, if he wants a character dead, he probably likes that character and is picking on them because he wants to stir up pitchforks and torches. He's backed off that SOME largely because outrage works differently online now. But he operates very much from kind of a Bill Jemas worldview: "If you're happy with what we're doing, our sales will suffer." That's... a difficult thing for some folks IN COMICS to mesh with. Some folks just want a clean and fairly neutral status quo so they can tell clever one off stories kind of like Batman: The Animated Series.

    In some ways, Loeb and DiDio got along super-well. DiDio greenlit stuff Levitz probably wouldn't have. He hired Loeb for All-Star Batman. (Frank Miller was a replacement hire. There's a first issue in a drawer somewhere of a Loeb/Art Adams All-Star Batman #1.) But he also made Loeb's job harder and kept wanting to tinker with some things in the opposite direction.

    Loeb was always trying to fuse the Byrne continuity with the Silver-Age so that you'd just have one 75 year Superman continuity like what Morrison later did with Batman. DiDio wasn't keen on that and neither was Waid, exactly. Waid loves the Silver Age as a fan but he's the first guy to throw it into the woodchipper if he thinks something is silly, unrealistic, or embarrassing. (Johns shared an office with Loeb.)

    The tug of war gave us Superman origin reboots about every 18 months. And Loeb more or less walked from the monthly Superman book at the start of that because he wanted a stable run.
    First, I just want to say thank you for such a great reply, and for replying to me in general. Without getting too "geeky", I really do consider all of you who work in the industry to be rock stars, so any time someone responds to something I've said I just wanna high five the person next to me, even if they're a stranger lol

    I did not know about Loeb's son, and having to go through that while also having such large responsibilities with many titles...now that I do, it certainly helps put a lot of his run into better context for me so I appreciate that. We've also heard rumors for years that events come with "kill-lists", but seeing it confirmed is certainly an eye opener, at least for myself. Often, you'll see a writer on twitter proclaim "don't blame editorial, that was all me!", but it never quite feels like the truth. Interesting stuff. I'm happy to know the reasons behind the dangled plots, as well, and how certain things get walked back when editorial changes their mind. It was just an extremely interesting and enlightening post, so thank you sir!
    "Darkseid...always hated music..."

    Every post I make, it should be assumed by the reader that the following statement is attached: "It's all subjective. What works for me doesn't necessarily work for you, and vice versa, and that's ok. You may have a different opinion on it, but this is mine. That's the wonderful thing about being a comics fan, it's all subjective."

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Gerard View Post
    I was pitching DC at the time (got my name in the credits of one of those issues).

    The long and short of it is that you had a few things going on:

    - Jeph's son Sam had cancer. He was trying to mentor his son Sam and his daughter Audrey into writing comics. But Sam ultimately died after a few years of struggle and I think think that was the hardest thing Loeb ever went through.

    - Loeb was one of DC's hotter writers at that point. He was doing a LOT of work that went above and beyond what a typical writer does although it's maybe not AS unusual for folks like Grant Morrison, Dan Slott, or Bendis. He was reviewing art portfolios and basically headhunting the whole team lineups. Kinda makes sense for the guy who had been a Hollywood producer and would later be VP of Marvel TV. (He was the publisher for a lot of Rob Liefeld's Alan Moore's Supreme and drew a lot from that.) He was all but hiring the writers and artists. It was a lot. A fair assessment would probably be that Berganza was making more of a mark on books like Young Justice and Loeb and Berganza were practically co-editing although Loeb was neither paid to do that nor could he always get final say after making a decision.

    - So the teams outperformed expectations. The Return to Krypton prelude (166?) was the bestselling Superman comic since Superman #75 and would later be beat by Superman/Batman. Emperor Joker wasn't planned as an event by DC and wound up doing event sales. So the teams had a 4-8 part story planned called Our Superman at War. DC didn't have a big event and basically offered them keys to the kingdom (basically, pet projects and bonus pay) to turn Our Superman at War Into Our Worlds at War. Tie-ins were added.

    - Here's what you should know about event stories -- whether something is planned as an event or gets "upgraded" into one. Publishers have lists of characters they want dead or changed and a condition of doing an event is that you have to hit those marks. Often 10-20 characters the company wants to kill off. Maybe some they want to de-power. This doesn't originate with writers. If you take something like Identity Crisis, Brad Meltzer scripts the scenes and writes the dialogue and comes up with the mysteries but he's ASSIGNED to kill off Firestorm and Ray Palmer and Jack Drake and so on. Events are assigned so that you get "kill lists" and "change lists" and you have to shove those into a story that was envisioned without them or without ALL of them. Sometimes a writer can get a stay of execution by writing a character into retirement or having them just vanish. (Like Ray Palmer in Identity Crisis.)

    - So Our Worlds at War was a kill fest. The teams lost the readers' faith. People who never read Superman suddenly hated the Superman teams. Sales dropped. As sales dropped, the writers lost clout and had pre-approved stories axed.

    - DC management was also changing. More on this in a second. But the Loeb teams had a multi-year arc approved by Jennette Khan and Ediie Berganza that went out the window around the time Loeb quit. They just had Luthor discover Superman's identity and were told... NO. Can't advance that plot. Have to reverse it. This threw out years worth of planning while Loeb was dealing with his kid's cancer.

    - So he walked. And he came back to Superman/Batman but he had a lot of demands (choosing collaborators, pay for collaborators) and was basically able to do whatever he wanted so long as DiDio didn't veto it. And that's what it reads like. This is a guy handed carte blanche. And then his son died towards the end and some drama happened and Mark Millar nvited him to go to Marvel.

    - Underpinning a lot of this stuff is, from what I gather, Paul Levitz was trying to choose a successor to run DC. Except what a variety of folks did or did not know was that Dan DiDio had been handpicked by somebody at Warner Bros. to take over DC before he wrote his first comic. The only reason DiDio showed up in the first place was to run the company the way WB wanted. Levitz didn't know or didn't get the full memo and was trying to find alternative candidates to weigh against DiDio. Levitz interviewed Waid. I think he talked to Loeb. Loeb and Waid always got along FAIRLY well.

    - But everybody who interviewed for Levitz's job had issues with DiDio. It's hard and probably unfair to assign blame on a message board post without all the facts but DiDio was trying to move into a job he'd been promised maybe 5 years before. Meanwhile, you had competing offers made to other people that upset DiDio, who spent five-plus years of his life turning down other work, planning to take that job. It became hard for some of these people to work together for awhile. So you had a big exodus from DC to Marvel of people who, I think, had awkward relationships with DiDio largely because of conflict between Levitz and Kevin Tsujihara and some other folks. Diane Nelson was brought in, in part, I think, because of how frayed the WB/DC relationships were so she could be a neutral party -- and because she was seen as being able to expand the young girls and Young Adult markets based on her background with Harry Potter and other stuff.

    - On top of all of this is that I think there's a lot of folks who misread DiDio in part because, well... He's a troll. A bonafied troll. Yes, he wanted Nightwing dead for years and planned it various ways. But all the stuff about hating Nightwing was playacting. He did it because he thought it would upset the most people. He has a very soap opera/pro-wrestling view and he's more of a Silver-Age/Bronze-Age Marvel guy than DC. So he's always trying to inject that 70s Marvel "Hank Pym becomes a wifebeater" type stuff in. Because he has a view that the more comics upset or provoke people, the more they sell. Honestly, if he wants a character dead, he probably likes that character and is picking on them because he wants to stir up pitchforks and torches. He's backed off that SOME largely because outrage works differently online now. But he operates very much from kind of a Bill Jemas worldview: "If you're happy with what we're doing, our sales will suffer." That's... a difficult thing for some folks IN COMICS to mesh with. Some folks just want a clean and fairly neutral status quo so they can tell clever one off stories kind of like Batman: The Animated Series.

    In some ways, Loeb and DiDio got along super-well. DiDio greenlit stuff Levitz probably wouldn't have. He hired Loeb for All-Star Batman. (Frank Miller was a replacement hire. There's a first issue in a drawer somewhere of a Loeb/Art Adams All-Star Batman #1.) But he also made Loeb's job harder and kept wanting to tinker with some things in the opposite direction.

    Loeb was always trying to fuse the Byrne continuity with the Silver-Age so that you'd just have one 75 year Superman continuity like what Morrison later did with Batman. DiDio wasn't keen on that and neither was Waid, exactly. Waid loves the Silver Age as a fan but he's the first guy to throw it into the woodchipper if he thinks something is silly, unrealistic, or embarrassing. (Johns shared an office with Loeb.)

    The tug of war gave us Superman origin reboots about every 18 months. And Loeb more or less walked from the monthly Superman book at the start of that because he wanted a stable run.
    Did he bring Joe Casey in? I really love the last year of Casey.

  5. #20
    Phantom Zone Escapee manofsteel1979's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Gerard View Post
    I was pitching DC at the time (got my name in the credits of one of those issues).

    The long and short of it is that you had a few things going on:

    - Jeph's son Sam had cancer. He was trying to mentor his son Sam and his daughter Audrey into writing comics. But Sam ultimately died after a few years of struggle and I think think that was the hardest thing Loeb ever went through.

    - Loeb was one of DC's hotter writers at that point. He was doing a LOT of work that went above and beyond what a typical writer does although it's maybe not AS unusual for folks like Grant Morrison, Dan Slott, or Bendis. He was reviewing art portfolios and basically headhunting the whole team lineups. Kinda makes sense for the guy who had been a Hollywood producer and would later be VP of Marvel TV. (He was the publisher for a lot of Rob Liefeld's Alan Moore's Supreme and drew a lot from that.) He was all but hiring the writers and artists. It was a lot. A fair assessment would probably be that Berganza was making more of a mark on books like Young Justice and Loeb and Berganza were practically co-editing although Loeb was neither paid to do that nor could he always get final say after making a decision.

    - So the teams outperformed expectations. The Return to Krypton prelude (166?) was the bestselling Superman comic since Superman #75 and would later be beat by Superman/Batman. Emperor Joker wasn't planned as an event by DC and wound up doing event sales. So the teams had a 4-8 part story planned called Our Superman at War. DC didn't have a big event and basically offered them keys to the kingdom (basically, pet projects and bonus pay) to turn Our Superman at War Into Our Worlds at War. Tie-ins were added.

    - Here's what you should know about event stories -- whether something is planned as an event or gets "upgraded" into one. Publishers have lists of characters they want dead or changed and a condition of doing an event is that you have to hit those marks. Often 10-20 characters the company wants to kill off. Maybe some they want to de-power. This doesn't originate with writers. If you take something like Identity Crisis, Brad Meltzer scripts the scenes and writes the dialogue and comes up with the mysteries but he's ASSIGNED to kill off Firestorm and Ray Palmer and Jack Drake and so on. Events are assigned so that you get "kill lists" and "change lists" and you have to shove those into a story that was envisioned without them or without ALL of them. Sometimes a writer can get a stay of execution by writing a character into retirement or having them just vanish. (Like Ray Palmer in Identity Crisis.)

    - So Our Worlds at War was a kill fest. The teams lost the readers' faith. People who never read Superman suddenly hated the Superman teams. Sales dropped. As sales dropped, the writers lost clout and had pre-approved stories axed.

    - DC management was also changing. More on this in a second. But the Loeb teams had a multi-year arc approved by Jennette Khan and Ediie Berganza that went out the window around the time Loeb quit. They just had Luthor discover Superman's identity and were told... NO. Can't advance that plot. Have to reverse it. This threw out years worth of planning while Loeb was dealing with his kid's cancer.

    - So he walked. And he came back to Superman/Batman but he had a lot of demands (choosing collaborators, pay for collaborators) and was basically able to do whatever he wanted so long as DiDio didn't veto it. And that's what it reads like. This is a guy handed carte blanche. And then his son died towards the end and some drama happened and Mark Millar nvited him to go to Marvel.

    - Underpinning a lot of this stuff is, from what I gather, Paul Levitz was trying to choose a successor to run DC. Except what a variety of folks did or did not know was that Dan DiDio had been handpicked by somebody at Warner Bros. to take over DC before he wrote his first comic. The only reason DiDio showed up in the first place was to run the company the way WB wanted. Levitz didn't know or didn't get the full memo and was trying to find alternative candidates to weigh against DiDio. Levitz interviewed Waid. I think he talked to Loeb. Loeb and Waid always got along FAIRLY well.

    - But everybody who interviewed for Levitz's job had issues with DiDio. It's hard and probably unfair to assign blame on a message board post without all the facts but DiDio was trying to move into a job he'd been promised maybe 5 years before. Meanwhile, you had competing offers made to other people that upset DiDio, who spent five-plus years of his life turning down other work, planning to take that job. It became hard for some of these people to work together for awhile. So you had a big exodus from DC to Marvel of people who, I think, had awkward relationships with DiDio largely because of conflict between Levitz and Kevin Tsujihara and some other folks. Diane Nelson was brought in, in part, I think, because of how frayed the WB/DC relationships were so she could be a neutral party -- and because she was seen as being able to expand the young girls and Young Adult markets based on her background with Harry Potter and other stuff.

    - On top of all of this is that I think there's a lot of folks who misread DiDio in part because, well... He's a troll. A bonafied troll. Yes, he wanted Nightwing dead for years and planned it various ways. But all the stuff about hating Nightwing was playacting. He did it because he thought it would upset the most people. He has a very soap opera/pro-wrestling view and he's more of a Silver-Age/Bronze-Age Marvel guy than DC. So he's always trying to inject that 70s Marvel "Hank Pym becomes a wifebeater" type stuff in. Because he has a view that the more comics upset or provoke people, the more they sell. Honestly, if he wants a character dead, he probably likes that character and is picking on them because he wants to stir up pitchforks and torches. He's backed off that SOME largely because outrage works differently online now. But he operates very much from kind of a Bill Jemas worldview: "If you're happy with what we're doing, our sales will suffer." That's... a difficult thing for some folks IN COMICS to mesh with. Some folks just want a clean and fairly neutral status quo so they can tell clever one off stories kind of like Batman: The Animated Series.

    In some ways, Loeb and DiDio got along super-well. DiDio greenlit stuff Levitz probably wouldn't have. He hired Loeb for All-Star Batman. (Frank Miller was a replacement hire. There's a first issue in a drawer somewhere of a Loeb/Art Adams All-Star Batman #1.) But he also made Loeb's job harder and kept wanting to tinker with some things in the opposite direction.

    Loeb was always trying to fuse the Byrne continuity with the Silver-Age so that you'd just have one 75 year Superman continuity like what Morrison later did with Batman. DiDio wasn't keen on that and neither was Waid, exactly. Waid loves the Silver Age as a fan but he's the first guy to throw it into the woodchipper if he thinks something is silly, unrealistic, or embarrassing. (Johns shared an office with Loeb.)

    The tug of war gave us Superman origin reboots about every 18 months. And Loeb more or less walked from the monthly Superman book at the start of that because he wanted a stable run.
    I always find your posts about that era insightful. I always learn something new.

    It explains a lot. I didn't realize Loeb was basically defacto co-editor with Berganza. It explains why everything sort of quickly went off the rails when Loeb left the monthly.

    Also the confirmation of DiDio's editorial philosophy explains the up/down/sideways nature of DC's publishing the last 17 years or so, especially in regards to Superman. The sad thing is he's not completly wrong that a happy contented readership sometimes leads to stagnation and controversy often leads to increased sales. The problem is eventually people get so turned off you cause permanent damage to a franchise. I'd say Superman is still struggling even though between Bendis and his immediate predecessors the books have never been better quality wise,at least in the last decade or so.
    Last edited by manofsteel1979; 04-23-2019 at 05:41 AM.
    When it comes to comics,one person's "fan-service" is another persons personal cannon. So by definition it's ALL fan service. Aren't we ALL fans?
    SUPERMAN is the greatest fictional character ever created.

  6. #21
    Incredible Member Adset's Avatar
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    I would read a full-length book of Patrick Gerard's industry insider musings.

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by madmodpoetgod View Post
    Did he bring Joe Casey in? I really love the last year of Casey.

    My impression was that he brought in everybody but Immonen and Mark Schultz. Those guys loved Schultz though and leaned on him as the sci-fi guy.

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clark_Kent View Post
    First, I just want to say thank you for such a great reply, and for replying to me in general. Without getting too "geeky", I really do consider all of you who work in the industry to be rock stars, so any time someone responds to something I've said I just wanna high five the person next to me, even if they're a stranger lol

    I did not know about Loeb's son, and having to go through that while also having such large responsibilities with many titles...now that I do, it certainly helps put a lot of his run into better context for me so I appreciate that. We've also heard rumors for years that events come with "kill-lists", but seeing it confirmed is certainly an eye opener, at least for myself. Often, you'll see a writer on twitter proclaim "don't blame editorial, that was all me!", but it never quite feels like the truth. Interesting stuff. I'm happy to know the reasons behind the dangled plots, as well, and how certain things get walked back when editorial changes their mind. It was just an extremely interesting and enlightening post, so thank you sir!
    Quote Originally Posted by manofsteel1979 View Post
    I always find your posts about that era insightful. I always learn something new.

    It explains a lot. I didn't realize Loeb was basically defacto co-editor with Berganza. It explains why everything sort of quickly went off the rails when Loeb left the monthly.

    Also the confirmation of DiDio's editorial philosophy explains the up/down/sideways nature of DC's publishing the last 17 years or so, especially in regards to Superman. The sad thing is he's not completly wrong that a happy contented readership sometimes leads to stagnation and controversy often leads to increased sales. The problem is eventually people get so turned off you cause permanent damage to a franchise. I'd say Superman is still struggling even though between Bendis and his immediate predecessors the books have never been better quality wise,at least in the last decade or so.
    DiDioís favorite modern run is probably Tomasi/Gleason.

    Jurgens gained clout because of Snyderís movies. Those werenít necessarily Jurgensí tastes but they borrowed from him and the Lois/Clark relationship in those is what brought back the marriage.

    DiDio is a sucker for media synergy. Loeb left to his own devices probably would have brought back Linda Lee/Kara with Tim Sale but he recognized Silver Age was a thin ice approach that might have cost him respect with editorial so he pitched it as Splash meets Terminator, drawn by Mike Turner. Thatís what it took to get the green light. I think shooting for a Wildstorm/J. Scott Campbell flavor also got Jim Lee onboard.

    If youíve noticed Loeb got the big artists and that his writing style varied (aside from the repeated mantras and Groucho Marx references), he wrote first to the artist (a big enough artist gets you a long leash) and second to the editor.

    I think Ultimatim and Ultimates 3 was very much him trying to do a Millar impression that wasnít him. Like: ďOh. Mark Millar is running with incest between Wanda and Pietro? Iíll push that boundary harder.Ē

    Heís competitive that way. We jammed on a pitch for a Crime Syndicate thing that was supposed to take aim at JMSí Supreme Power. Ultimately, I donít want to overplay my hand as an ďinsiderĒ because, welll...

    Loeb wanted me writing Superman. Maggin was his mentor. He wanted me to be the next in that line.

    But Eddie Berganza was always weird around me. Seemed like he was trying to act interested in hiring me but wasnít without Loeb standing over him. Matt Idelsen WAS pretty interested but he had his own stuff going on. Sent me up to DiDio who passed me off to Jann Jones.

    Basically, I was never going to get in without Loeb and things were different with him after Sam died and again after he signed as a Marvel exec. Big responsibilities. A lot of his collaborators lost touch with him. Tim Sale had his own issues there. Iím glad Sam Humphries stepped up but I guess I always saw Humphries as the guy I could have been if I had my crud together faster. Took me until 2007 to get serious about self-pubbing. My roommate was murdered. Wound up being 2013 before I got into my own stuff and then my Mom died a week after the big TPB was finished.

    Much respect to the guys who balance this stuff with life events.

  9. #24
    Mighty Member Johnny Thunders!'s Avatar
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    That is crazy sad about Loeb's son. I loved his Batman books and all the stuff with Tim Sale at Marvel. The Superman titles were promising but it felt like the wheels were spinning. I loved the Batman/Superman team up at the time. The McGuinness art was a great deal of fun and every issue had big moments and events. Hawkman/SHAZAM vs. Superman/Batman?!? That idea alone make me want to re-read the series. I think the team up book is where Loeb's Superman was money! I had no clue he was a disciple of Maggin, but that's a great place to be in my book.

  10. #25
    Astonishing Member DragonPiece's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Gerard View Post
    DiDio’s favorite modern run is probably Tomasi/Gleason.

    Jurgens gained clout because of Snyder’s movies. Those weren’t necessarily Jurgens’ tastes but they borrowed from him and the Lois/Clark relationship in those is what brought back the marriage.

    DiDio is a sucker for media synergy. Loeb left to his own devices probably would have brought back Linda Lee/Kara with Tim Sale but he recognized Silver Age was a thin ice approach that might have cost him respect with editorial so he pitched it as Splash meets Terminator, drawn by Mike Turner. That’s what it took to get the green light. I think shooting for a Wildstorm/J. Scott Campbell flavor also got Jim Lee onboard.

    If you’ve noticed Loeb got the big artists and that his writing style varied (aside from the repeated mantras and Groucho Marx references), he wrote first to the artist (a big enough artist gets you a long leash) and second to the editor.

    I think Ultimatim and Ultimates 3 was very much him trying to do a Millar impression that wasn’t him. Like: “Oh. Mark Millar is running with incest between Wanda and Pietro? I’ll push that boundary harder.”

    He’s competitive that way. We jammed on a pitch for a Crime Syndicate thing that was supposed to take aim at JMS’ Supreme Power. Ultimately, I don’t want to overplay my hand as an “insider” because, welll...

    Loeb wanted me writing Superman. Maggin was his mentor. He wanted me to be the next in that line.

    But Eddie Berganza was always weird around me. Seemed like he was trying to act interested in hiring me but wasn’t without Loeb standing over him. Matt Idelsen WAS pretty interested but he had his own stuff going on. Sent me up to DiDio who passed me off to Jann Jones.

    Basically, I was never going to get in without Loeb and things were different with him after Sam died and again after he signed as a Marvel exec. Big responsibilities. A lot of his collaborators lost touch with him. Tim Sale had his own issues there. I’m glad Sam Humphries stepped up but I guess I always saw Humphries as the guy I could have been if I had my crud together faster. Took me until 2007 to get serious about self-pubbing. My roommate was murdered. Wound up being 2013 before I got into my own stuff and then my Mom died a week after the big TPB was finished.

    Much respect to the guys who balance this stuff with life events.
    That is really interesting, and a surprise to hear Didio say his favorite recent run is Tomasi's. Just shows how off some fans impressions of Didio are.

  11. #26
    Mighty Member Vordan's Avatar
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    Didio was really hyping up Super Sons in the Rebirth marketing, saying how it was his favorite book. He gave Tomasi Tec afterwards so I don’t think there’s any hard feelings between the two, Didio wasn’t looking to boot Tomasi it’s just that Bendis wanted Superman when Didio and everyone else assumed Bendis would want Batman, and DC has wanted Bendis for years.

    Interesting bit about Jurgens. I can kind of see why that would be the case, but frankly Snyder’s Superman seemed to draw more from JMS Earth One And Injustice than anything Jurgens did. Jurgens writes Superman as way more confident and self-assured than the mopey killer that Snyder created. From what I hear Didio looks out for the older creators like Wolfman and Jurgens and gives them work to help them pay the bills even if they’re not powerhouse seller like they used to be.

  12. #27
    Incredible Member Robanker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Gerard View Post
    DiDioís favorite modern run is probably Tomasi/Gleason.

    Jurgens gained clout because of Snyderís movies. Those werenít necessarily Jurgensí tastes but they borrowed from him and the Lois/Clark relationship in those is what brought back the marriage.

    DiDio is a sucker for media synergy. Loeb left to his own devices probably would have brought back Linda Lee/Kara with Tim Sale but he recognized Silver Age was a thin ice approach that might have cost him respect with editorial so he pitched it as Splash meets Terminator, drawn by Mike Turner. Thatís what it took to get the green light. I think shooting for a Wildstorm/J. Scott Campbell flavor also got Jim Lee onboard.

    If youíve noticed Loeb got the big artists and that his writing style varied (aside from the repeated mantras and Groucho Marx references), he wrote first to the artist (a big enough artist gets you a long leash) and second to the editor.

    I think Ultimatim and Ultimates 3 was very much him trying to do a Millar impression that wasnít him. Like: ďOh. Mark Millar is running with incest between Wanda and Pietro? Iíll push that boundary harder.Ē

    Heís competitive that way. We jammed on a pitch for a Crime Syndicate thing that was supposed to take aim at JMSí Supreme Power. Ultimately, I donít want to overplay my hand as an ďinsiderĒ because, welll...

    Loeb wanted me writing Superman. Maggin was his mentor. He wanted me to be the next in that line.

    But Eddie Berganza was always weird around me. Seemed like he was trying to act interested in hiring me but wasnít without Loeb standing over him. Matt Idelsen WAS pretty interested but he had his own stuff going on. Sent me up to DiDio who passed me off to Jann Jones.

    Basically, I was never going to get in without Loeb and things were different with him after Sam died and again after he signed as a Marvel exec. Big responsibilities. A lot of his collaborators lost touch with him. Tim Sale had his own issues there. Iím glad Sam Humphries stepped up but I guess I always saw Humphries as the guy I could have been if I had my crud together faster. Took me until 2007 to get serious about self-pubbing. My roommate was murdered. Wound up being 2013 before I got into my own stuff and then my Mom died a week after the big TPB was finished.

    Much respect to the guys who balance this stuff with life events.
    Thank you very much for your insights into the industry and my deepest condolences for your loss.

    While I'm somewhat surprised Didio loved Tomasi/Gleason's run on Superman most, he was hyping Super Sons before it even launched so it's not so crazy a notion.


    Quote Originally Posted by Vordan View Post
    Didio was really hyping up Super Sons in the Rebirth marketing, saying how it was his favorite book. He gave Tomasi Tec afterwards so I donít think thereís any hard feelings between the two, Didio wasnít looking to boot Tomasi itís just that Bendis wanted Superman when Didio and everyone else assumed Bendis would want Batman, and DC has wanted Bendis for years.

    Interesting bit about Jurgens. I can kind of see why that would be the case, but frankly Snyderís Superman seemed to draw more from JMS Earth One And Injustice than anything Jurgens did. Jurgens writes Superman as way more confident and self-assured than the mopey killer that Snyder created. From what I hear Didio looks out for the older creators like Wolfman and Jurgens and gives them work to help them pay the bills even if theyíre not powerhouse seller like they used to be.
    Yeah, this. all of this.

  13. #28
    Incredible Member kingaliencracker's Avatar
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    Everything from the start of Loeb's run up until Our World's at War was, in my humble opinion, amazing. Just awesome stuff and a really fun time as a Superman fan.

    Things definitely fell apart during and after OWAW.

  14. #29
    Mighty Member andersonh1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Gerard View Post
    I was pitching DC at the time (got my name in the credits of one of those issues).

    The long and short of it is that you had a few things going on:

    - Jeph's son Sam had cancer. He was trying to mentor his son Sam and his daughter Audrey into writing comics. But Sam ultimately died after a few years of struggle and I think think that was the hardest thing Loeb ever went through.

    - Loeb was one of DC's hotter writers at that point. He was doing a LOT of work that went above and beyond what a typical writer does although it's maybe not AS unusual for folks like Grant Morrison, Dan Slott, or Bendis. He was reviewing art portfolios and basically headhunting the whole team lineups. Kinda makes sense for the guy who had been a Hollywood producer and would later be VP of Marvel TV. (He was the publisher for a lot of Rob Liefeld's Alan Moore's Supreme and drew a lot from that.) He was all but hiring the writers and artists. It was a lot. A fair assessment would probably be that Berganza was making more of a mark on books like Young Justice and Loeb and Berganza were practically co-editing although Loeb was neither paid to do that nor could he always get final say after making a decision.

    - So the teams outperformed expectations. The Return to Krypton prelude (166?) was the bestselling Superman comic since Superman #75 and would later be beat by Superman/Batman. Emperor Joker wasn't planned as an event by DC and wound up doing event sales. So the teams had a 4-8 part story planned called Our Superman at War. DC didn't have a big event and basically offered them keys to the kingdom (basically, pet projects and bonus pay) to turn Our Superman at War Into Our Worlds at War. Tie-ins were added.

    - Here's what you should know about event stories -- whether something is planned as an event or gets "upgraded" into one. Publishers have lists of characters they want dead or changed and a condition of doing an event is that you have to hit those marks. Often 10-20 characters the company wants to kill off. Maybe some they want to de-power. This doesn't originate with writers. If you take something like Identity Crisis, Brad Meltzer scripts the scenes and writes the dialogue and comes up with the mysteries but he's ASSIGNED to kill off Firestorm and Ray Palmer and Jack Drake and so on. Events are assigned so that you get "kill lists" and "change lists" and you have to shove those into a story that was envisioned without them or without ALL of them. Sometimes a writer can get a stay of execution by writing a character into retirement or having them just vanish. (Like Ray Palmer in Identity Crisis.)

    - So Our Worlds at War was a kill fest. The teams lost the readers' faith. People who never read Superman suddenly hated the Superman teams. Sales dropped. As sales dropped, the writers lost clout and had pre-approved stories axed.

    - DC management was also changing. More on this in a second. But the Loeb teams had a multi-year arc approved by Jennette Khan and Ediie Berganza that went out the window around the time Loeb quit. They just had Luthor discover Superman's identity and were told... NO. Can't advance that plot. Have to reverse it. This threw out years worth of planning while Loeb was dealing with his kid's cancer.

    - So he walked. And he came back to Superman/Batman but he had a lot of demands (choosing collaborators, pay for collaborators) and was basically able to do whatever he wanted so long as DiDio didn't veto it. And that's what it reads like. This is a guy handed carte blanche. And then his son died towards the end and some drama happened and Mark Millar nvited him to go to Marvel.

    - Underpinning a lot of this stuff is, from what I gather, Paul Levitz was trying to choose a successor to run DC. Except what a variety of folks did or did not know was that Dan DiDio had been handpicked by somebody at Warner Bros. to take over DC before he wrote his first comic. The only reason DiDio showed up in the first place was to run the company the way WB wanted. Levitz didn't know or didn't get the full memo and was trying to find alternative candidates to weigh against DiDio. Levitz interviewed Waid. I think he talked to Loeb. Loeb and Waid always got along FAIRLY well.

    - But everybody who interviewed for Levitz's job had issues with DiDio. It's hard and probably unfair to assign blame on a message board post without all the facts but DiDio was trying to move into a job he'd been promised maybe 5 years before. Meanwhile, you had competing offers made to other people that upset DiDio, who spent five-plus years of his life turning down other work, planning to take that job. It became hard for some of these people to work together for awhile. So you had a big exodus from DC to Marvel of people who, I think, had awkward relationships with DiDio largely because of conflict between Levitz and Kevin Tsujihara and some other folks. Diane Nelson was brought in, in part, I think, because of how frayed the WB/DC relationships were so she could be a neutral party -- and because she was seen as being able to expand the young girls and Young Adult markets based on her background with Harry Potter and other stuff.

    - On top of all of this is that I think there's a lot of folks who misread DiDio in part because, well... He's a troll. A bonafied troll. Yes, he wanted Nightwing dead for years and planned it various ways. But all the stuff about hating Nightwing was playacting. He did it because he thought it would upset the most people. He has a very soap opera/pro-wrestling view and he's more of a Silver-Age/Bronze-Age Marvel guy than DC. So he's always trying to inject that 70s Marvel "Hank Pym becomes a wifebeater" type stuff in. Because he has a view that the more comics upset or provoke people, the more they sell. Honestly, if he wants a character dead, he probably likes that character and is picking on them because he wants to stir up pitchforks and torches. He's backed off that SOME largely because outrage works differently online now. But he operates very much from kind of a Bill Jemas worldview: "If you're happy with what we're doing, our sales will suffer." That's... a difficult thing for some folks IN COMICS to mesh with. Some folks just want a clean and fairly neutral status quo so they can tell clever one off stories kind of like Batman: The Animated Series.

    In some ways, Loeb and DiDio got along super-well. DiDio greenlit stuff Levitz probably wouldn't have. He hired Loeb for All-Star Batman. (Frank Miller was a replacement hire. There's a first issue in a drawer somewhere of a Loeb/Art Adams All-Star Batman #1.) But he also made Loeb's job harder and kept wanting to tinker with some things in the opposite direction.

    Loeb was always trying to fuse the Byrne continuity with the Silver-Age so that you'd just have one 75 year Superman continuity like what Morrison later did with Batman. DiDio wasn't keen on that and neither was Waid, exactly. Waid loves the Silver Age as a fan but he's the first guy to throw it into the woodchipper if he thinks something is silly, unrealistic, or embarrassing. (Johns shared an office with Loeb.)

    The tug of war gave us Superman origin reboots about every 18 months. And Loeb more or less walked from the monthly Superman book at the start of that because he wanted a stable run.
    This explains a lot. Thanks for the insights.
    "Why do the trunks not "hold up with the times"? What exactly is the problem with them? And don't tell me "nobody wears them" because nobody dresses in a blue body suit and red cape and boots either.

    It's a superhero costume. It's the original superhero costume. It's not real clothing, it's not bound to the ever-changing fashion trends of real life. It's nothing like real life clothing. How exactly can it become outdated?"

  15. #30
    Father Son Kamehameha < Kuwagaton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Gerard View Post
    My impression was that he brought in everybody but Immonen and Mark Schultz. Those guys loved Schultz though and leaned on him as the sci-fi guy.
    So did I. One reason I want to see these trades perform well is because he showed up and elevated every story arc, and yet he’s still just second billing. I wouldn’t be surprised if respect for him is why Man of Steel lasted and ended the way it did.
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